Daniel Powter

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 28 August, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 28 August, 2005, 12:00am

Daniel Powter

Daniel Powter

(Warner Bros)

It's the season for male singer-songwriters, so expect to hear more falsettos, hummable tunes and soul baring by sensitive types who also happen to be good sorts.

Daniel Powter delivers on all counts except his image, which is less troubadour than thug: he wears a facial expression that recalls his surname and a green cap pulled low to hide the scars from a drunken episode.

On the musical front, however, the Canadian does his brothers proud. His debut collection of 10 tracks has earned him comparisons to Elton John. But it's wishful thinking at this stage to put him on the same pedestal. Powter may do piano-based pop, but his songs do not bring to mind 'classic' (the way John's early work might). And Mr Yellow Brick Road no longer possesses a falsetto.

Powter doesn't need associations with greatness to be heard. His first single, Bad Day, has already proved what he's capable of - namely, catchy riffs and uplifting tunes mixed with street credibility.

The confessional Jimmy Gets High offers even more. That it's about Powter's past drug problem is a boring postscript. That it creates a memorable character along the lines of Sad Lisa or, dare we say it, Daniel (who's always waving goodbye) deserves a clink of glasses.

Although a few tracks fade to grey, among them Styrofoam and Lost on the Stoop, this collection is worth the investment. Boosting the assets is producer Mitchell Froom (Elvis Costello, Crowded House and Suzanne Vega).

Powter also has a funky touch, and Suspect should erase all images of the lone musician mooning over his keyboards.